What is acupuncture?
Imagine your pet running around pain-free again or feeling less stiff than he has for years? We’ve seen this happen to animals we’ve treated with acupuncture. More and more UK vets are using acupuncture, not just because it’s a drug-free, complementary therapy, but because the results are outstanding. And while here in the West, we consider acupuncture as “alternative”, in China, horses, cows and pigs have benefited from it for more than 3,000 years!
Here at Alnorthumbria Veterinary Group, acupuncture is practiced by Sophia Chinn, B.Vet. Med MRCVS and Claire Riddell, BVM&S MRCVS Cert AVP, who have both completed training in Western Veterinary Acupuncture
- Alternative therapies including acupuncture are so successful that the majority of insurance companies will now cover the costs if the treatment is recommended by your vet.
What is acupuncture used for?
Acupuncture can have enormous benefits for animals with chronic (long-term) conditions, such as arthritis and back pain. We’ve also seen great improvements for constipation and cystitis in cats and irritable bowel problems in dogs.
What happens during treatment?
Fine needles are inserted into your pet’s body at specific skin points. They are then moved a few times by your vet, depending on how your pet responds.
How does it work?
It works two ways. The needles block pain messages to the brain. In turn, this encourages the brain and central nervous system to produce endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers.
Is it safe?
Acupuncture is very safe, but must only be performed by a veterinary surgeon.
How long do sessions last?
Usually only between five and 30 minutes, depending on how your pet responds.
How many sessions will my pet need?
Sometimes, pets only need one treatment. Usually, however, we’ve found a course of up to six weekly sessions is the best way to see the full benefits of the treatment. After that, you may need extra sessions to make sure the effect is maintained as long as possible. It depends on the individual animals and how they respond – just like people!
Does acupuncture hurt my pet?
No. Most animals accept the needles and even become very relaxed and sleepy. Because of this, it is very unusual for an animal to need to be sedated to undergo acupuncture (even cats and rabbits!).
What about after the treatment. Are there any side-effects to acupuncture?
We’ve found pets can be very sleepy after treatment or feel very happy. Either way, it is a good sign that the treatment has worked and we recommend they have a quiet time for the rest of the day.
How will I know if it’s worked?
Watch your pet carefully after treatment – you’ll see one of three reactions.
1 Your pet may seem stiffer at first but, after a couple of days, be better than before treatment. This suggests the treatment has worked but may have been a bit too much at the time. Tell your vet so they can adjust the treatment at the next session.
- No apparent change. Have faith – this may mean your pet may take longer or the improvement was not significant enough for you to see it. We recommend you stick with the course of treatment recommended by your vet, but while 80-90% of animals do respond to acupuncture, unfortunately there are no guarantees.
- Your pet is clearly happier and moving better within three days. Great. The improvement may not last through to the next treatment but that’s to be expected. As the course continues, the effects should last longer each time and your pet will love you all the more for it.
- While the majority of insurance policies now cover alternative therapies, we always recommend you check your policy.
Your pet deserves every chance to be pain free. Find out if acupuncture might be the answer by booking an initial consultation by calling your local branch.